Middle East

Myanmar court sentences husband of ex-British envoy to one year in prison News

Yangon/Taipei – Former British Ambassador to Myanmar Vicky Bowman and husband Tain Linwas sentenced to one year in prison for violating immigration laws after a trial in Yangon, a diplomat familiar with the matter said.

Bow Man, a prominent Myanmar painter and former political prisoner, and her husband Htin Lin were sentenced on Friday after being arrested in Yangon last week on suspicion of violating immigration laws.

note from military ruler of myanmar Mr. Bowman accused Mr. Bowman of violating the country’s immigration laws and alien registration rules last year by failing to notify authorities when the couple moved temporarily from their registered address in Yangon to Kalaw, Shan State. .

Tin Lin was charged with aiding a “crime”.

Local news site Myanmar Now reported that the couple appeared in court inside the infamous Insein prison on Thursday and were sentenced on Friday.

The arrest and current imprisonment of Myanmar’s most prominent proponent of responsible investment and long-time resident of the country, Thein Lin, has shocked the business and diplomatic world.

Speculation as to the reasons for their arrest varies, with some suggesting that Bowman’s independent advocacy came to the attention of the military junta.

However, some diplomats and analysts believe that the couple’s imprisonment is akin to taking hostages who could be traded in future negotiations.

“This is hostage ‘diplomacy’,” former EU ambassador to Myanmar Christian Schmidt wrote on social media following news of the couple’s arrest.

Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from Bangkok, said the current concern is that Bowman and her husband will be used as a kind of leverage by Myanmar’s military rulers.

“Many people in and outside Yangon who knew her, her friends and relatives fear that she will become a pawn of the military, as they have used other foreigners detained since the military coup. ‘, said Chen.

“Possibly partly because the British government last week imposed more sanctions on companies linked to Myanmar’s military regime, which could be part of the equation to get her freedom. But for now, as far as we understand, she will be in Insein Prison for another year.”

Friends are also concerned that 55-year-old Htein Lin is at high risk of suffering in prison under the military, which is known to torture prisoners. Tin Lin was a student protester during his 1988 uprising against the then-military government, and between 1998 and 2004 he spent more than six years in prison.

The pair’s imprisonment could also prove to be a major test for the British government.

The UK has been criticized domestically for not acting quickly in the case of Iran’s imprisonment of British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, who spent six years in prison in Iran before being released earlier this year.

“This is much more than a private consular case,” a European diplomat based in Yangon told Al Jazeera.

Bowman is one of the main interfaces between Myanmar and foreign investors, advocating for responsible business and playing a pivotal role in steering economic development, the diplomat said.

“All eyes are on the British government to do everything possible to release her and Ting Lin as soon as possible,” he added.

“It certainly hints at the possibility of ‘hostage diplomacy.’ It also highlights the junta’s extreme paranoia and its sheer ignorance or indifference to the economic consequences of its actions.” “They seem to see enemies everywhere.”

Bowman, 56, who served as British Ambassador to Myanmar from 2002 to 2006, returned to Yangon and spent nearly a decade promoting the country’s economic opening in a way that respects human rights and international standards. It has reformed government regulations related to the private sector. 2010s. She speaks fluent Burmese.

An Asian diplomat said in Yangon that there could be several reasons for the arrest and timing. These include the UK’s refusal to accept its appointment as the military’s new ambassador in London, the latest sanctions against the regime, and London’s decision to support Rohingya crimes against the Rohingya.humanitarian incident in International Criminal Court.

August 25, 5th anniversary of British military attack on Myanmar’s Rohingya community Sanctions imposed About three entities associated with military leaders.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/2/myanmar-court-sentences-ex-uk-envoy-husband-to-year-in-prison Myanmar court sentences husband of ex-British envoy to one year in prison News

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